Panic. Sheer panic.
I wanted to stand up and scream, “Let me off the plane!” Run to the exit, push open the door, and race down the stairs. Like in a movie.
But I didn’t.
Instead, I sat in my seat and watched Denmark disappear through my scratched, hazy window. Tiny, tiny, gone. Nothing but clouds and sunlight. And just like that, my semester abroad ended.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to see friends and family. My 16-month old niece has grown so much. She’s talking and walking and I can’t believe I missed all of it.
When I set foot on American soil, my plan is to devour a Chipotle bowl (extra guacamole) and spoon up some perfectly gooey Panera’s mac and cheese. I’ve also been daydreaming about greasy, American fries and my mom’s homemade mashed potatoes for weeks, months even.
So on the plane ride home, why does Denmark’s dense, rye bread pop into my brain? I didn’t even like it. It reminded me of the healthy bagels my dad buys at Wegmans, the stuff I call “birdseed bread” and avoid at all costs. (We usually compromise with bland, wheat toast.)
Rye bread. Bicycles. My host mom and dad. My host cat and dog. Kings named only Christian or Frederick. Beaches and the Baltic Sea. Stylish Danes. (Think black skinny jeans paired with Adidas sneakers.) Danish language. (How will I live without saying my favorite word, “tak”?) Tell me how I’m supposed to leave Denmark. Tell me how I’m supposed to rip myself out of this life I created in a span of four short months.
When I get home, I’ll fall into my old routines easily, though. I’ll go grocery shopping with my mom. Babysit my niece. Start an internship. Eat Subway. Go to baseball games with my dad. Life will continue relatively unchanged; the only difference is that I’ve changed.
Now here I sit in 7C, elbows tucked in, typing in a cramped, airplane seat while the white-haired gentleman in 7B watches The Hangover with a sober, unsmiling face. The plane icon flies over Canada on the screen in front of me.
Time to destination: one hour and forty-seven minutes.
Ready or not America, I’m coming for ya.